Putting the joie in the vivre

A Nyack hotel transitions into a fully-fledged urban resort.

Rococo curlicues meet pop art and exposed ducting in the recently relaunched Hotel Nyack. The former Time Nyack Hotel, which started life as a plastics factory and was later a music studio, is now part of Hyatt’s eclectic “Joie de Vivre” collection. The vision of the boutique brand — known informally as JdV — is reconnecting hotels with their local communities, but the individual hotels’ undeniable hip factor is going to appeal to Gen Z guests as well as the village elders.

Lying on my supremely comfortable bed in my spacious corner suite, gazing at the high ceiling, I do wonder what all these pipes might be carrying. There is a mass of them, including one directly over my head, so that Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory comes inexorably to mind and I half-expect an everlasting gobstopper to pop out at one end.

Not that I’m short of candy and treats, because a basket by the Keurig coffee machine in the closet supplies me with a Hershey bar, as well as Oreo cookies, peanuts, Pringles and Famous Amos. 

There’s also a minibar stuffed with sodas, while new partnerships with local vendors, currently in the works, mean more locally made and esoteric snacks will be coming soon. In the bathrooms, with their large shower stalls, expect to find luxurious towels, along with sweet-smelling, Jonathan Adler products. 

Oh, and did I mention the distinctive, dizzyingly “busy” red rugs, scalloped into fleur-de-lys at the edges, found in the bedrooms and the common areas of the hotel? They’re a cross between regal and kitsch, I can’t quite decide which. But apparently a lot of guests ask if they can buy one (answer — “unfortunately, no longer.”) 

Best of all, perhaps, is the view of the Hudson River and the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge. Be sure to request a central balcony suite if you are a fully fledged pontist and want to spend your stay bridge-and-river gazing.

Downstairs in the bar, bartender Joe’s a friendly sort. He elbow-bumps me as I take a seat and asks my name. (Over the years I’ve been accustomed to getting the actual “elbow” in bars, so this elbow-bumping makes a pleasant change.) 

Just off the lobby hangs an empty gilt picture frame just made for selfies and a conversation piece of a human skull, made from bullets. Thankfully, it’s not nearly as gruesome as it sounds. Another outsized picture frame reveals a hologram of Mick Jagger, as unmistakable as he is Instagram-able. There are also a lot of mildly suggestive, fluffy faux-fur cushions dotted around the place, on armchairs, ottomans and sofas.

While Hotel Nyack may not be everybody’s cup of tea, it is undoubtedly going to appeal to a wide swathe of people. General Manager Anthony Damiano is understandably enthusiastic about his property, believing it will quickly establish itself as a favorite neighborhood hangout. In line with the JdV ethos, he’s keen to stress that the hotel will be integral to its local environment. “We want to be part of Nyack — not just a hotel in Nyack,” he expounds. He says he and his team are excited because they know they have a lot to offer. “We feel that if we connect with our community, everything else will fall into place.”

With its more than 6,000 feet of flexible event space, including a 2,500-square-foot ballroom (and one which has the rare commodity of natural light), Damiano is also anticipating a great deal of interest in events of all kinds, including, of course, corporate events, weddings and bar mitzvahs. Indeed, he says, the enquiries are already coming. “By the time we get to the summer, we’re going to be seeing a lot of action,” he says with a twinkle.

Asked about business travelers, Damiano concedes that, with the pandemic, this sector has taken the biggest hit. But business people are edging back. “There are a number of businesses in the area — pharmaceutical companies, banking, different business not only in Rockland County but in Tarrytown,” he comments. “What’s really been big, though, has been filming,” he throws in, tantalizingly. Who’s filming? Damiano confirms that episodes of “FBI: Most Wanted,” “Severance” and “Prodigal Sons” have all been shot in the area in recent months, the producers choosing to make the hotel their base.

Hotel Nyack’s restaurant, named The Grille, feels wistful, with only a few diners actually dining early in the week I visit, on the cusp of spring, but there are plans afoot to redesign the room. That goes for the spacious patio, too. In a few weeks’ time, the garage doors to the patio will be open and it will become what Damiano describes as “a hot and happening area.” An attractive outdoor bar is already in place and live music and entertainment, including movies shown on a giant screen, will be featured on weekends. Back in The Grille, while the fairly safe, American-fusion menu isn’t going to frighten the horses, the kitchen turns out fresh and vibrant salads, wonderful crab and golden calamari (with the halved lemon muslin-wrapped, no less,) as well as steaks and chops cooked with great care and precision. 

Also to look forward to, early to mid-May will see the opening of Hotel Nyack’s pool, which will be a further boon. And with a collaboration with a local spa and wellness center, located less than a mile away, the hotel will become a fully-fledged, urban resort. “In this area, we don’t really have this kind of hotel, so we do feel we have that little extra difference.”

Which is very possibly understating it. “We have the local community behind us and a lot to look forward to,” reiterates Damiano. As the front door opens and the first check-ins of the day arrive, Mick Jagger looks down approvingly.

For more, including reservations, visit hyatt.com.

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